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'Sound Of Freedom' InspirationTim Ballard Accused of Sexual Misconduct

'Sound Of Freedom' Inspiration Tim Ballard Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Tim Ballard; Jim Caviezel in 'Sounds of Freedom’
Alan Espinosa/Getty Images; Courtesy of Angel Studios

The supposed anti-child trafficking hero is being accused of sexual coercion and misconduct by multiple women.

Although Sound of Freedom made more than $200 million at the box office, it has been mired in controversy since it first premiered.

The film, which follows a fictionalized version of Tim Ballard and his anti-child-trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad, has faced accusations of inaccuracies, possible ties to QAnon, and one of the movie’s financial backers was charged with child kidnapping.

The film is now dealing with its biggest controversy yet as the man the movie’s hero was based on allegedly left O.U.R.—the group he founded in 2013—amid sexual misconduct claims from women within the organization, according to a new report from Vice.

The outlet detailed multiple anonymous allegations against Ballard, who is played by Jim Caviezel in the film, from women who said he asked them to pose as his wife on undercover overseas missions to fight child trafficking and allegedly coerced them into sharing a bed or showering with him to “fool traffickers.” He is also being accused of having sent a photo of himself in his underwear to at least one woman and having asked another woman “how far she was willing to go” for their mission.

Vice reported that one employee has already filed a sexual harassment claim against Ballard after traveling on an overseas mission with him and that at least seven employees alledge they’ve experience sexual coercion and harrassment at the hands of Ballard.

“Tim Ballard resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023,” the organization said of the allegations in a statement to Vice. “He has permanently separated from O.U.R. O.U.R. is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization.”

On Tuesday Ballard released a statement denying all of the allegations. “As with all of the assaults on my character and integrity over many years, the latest tabloid-driven sexual allegations are false,” he said. “They are baseless inventions designed to destroy me and the movement we have built to end the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable children. During my time at O.U.R., I designed strict guidelines for myself and our operators in the field. Sexual contact was prohibited, and I led by example. Given our meticulous attention to this issue, any suggestion of inappropriate sexual contact is categorically false.”

Despite the controversy, Ballard—an ally of Donald Trump, who hosted a private screening of Sounds of Freedom in July—has recently said he is considering running for Mitt Romney’s Senate season when Romney’s term ends.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.